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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


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Showing posts with label Michigan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michigan. Show all posts

Monday, February 6, 2017

Smokin' Sleddog Records artist: John Latini - The Blues Just Makes me Feel Good - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Blues Just Makes Me Feel Good, by John Latini and he gives his music his own flavor. Opening with Black-Eyed Blues, Latini, who sings and plays guitar is joined by Nolan Mendenhall on bass, Brian Roscoe White on guitars and Todd Glass on drums as well as Jamie-Sue Seal and Greg C Brown on backing vocal, Ross Huff on trumpet, Tim Haldeman on sax and Bethanni Grecynski on trombone. Lord Made Me A Weak Man has just a touch of R&B with a nice organ solo by Neil Donato and a laid back solo by Latini. Blues shuffle, Three AM, has a real nice feel with rugged vocals and cool slide soloing. Woodchuck Blues has a taste of country with a bit of a CCR sound. Very cool. Funky, Pull Me Up has a really nice groove. Hot country blues flavored guitar soloing and the horn section, coupled with the vocal blends make this one of my release favorites. Title track, The Blues Just Makes Me Feel Good is another of my favorites on the release with a New Orleans style and jazzy flavored guitar work over horn backing. Very nice! Hot stepping, Gotta Have My Babies is deliberate with nice horn punctuation and lower fret soloing. Hard Walkin' Woman has a distinct Jimmy Reed sound with a solid bottom and nice vocals. Low slung guitar soloing and warm horn work fits this track to a tee. Easy paced, country blues track, I Will be Haunting You, has great presence and solid guitar accompaniment. This is a really nice conclusion to a solid release.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Mr. Rick - Mr. Rick Sings About God + Booze - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Mr. Rick Sings About God + Booze, from Mr. Rick and it's quite entertaining. Opening with One Kind Of Favor, an adaptation of Blind Lemon Jefferson's See That My Grave Is Kept Clean, has a hillbilly jazz feel with a hot beat. Lead acoustic guitar and vocal by Rick, Alec Fraser on bass, Drew Jurecka on fiddle and Ted Hawkins on drums show this track with a real spark. On It's The Bottle Talking, Ricks solid vocals lead the way with cool fiddle riffs by Jurecka and light percussion by Hawkins. Blind Willie Johnson's You'll Need Someone on Your Bond gets a real cool boogie take with slick guitar riffs from Steve Briggs, Tyler "Uncle Junior" Thompson on bass and cool backing vocals by the Ted Hawkins singers. Traditional hymn, I'll Fly Away, gets a Piedmont style and Mr. Rick keeps it simple and clean, joined by "Blues Doctor" Julie Hill. Very nice! Sister Rosetta Thorpe's Two Little Fishes retains the blues solidity but with a definite Louisiana taste with real nice clarinet work by Jono Lightstone and warn deep backing vocals by the Ted Hawkins singers. Excellent! Sleep John Estes' Liquor Store Blues is up next with a rural country feel but warm vlcals and a cool rock a billy guitar riffs by Briggs and fiddle solo by Jurecka. Very nice! Another spiritual track, Hush, gets a really cool, traditional uptempo country rework with a shuffle drum rhythm, and fun country guitar riffs. This is almost Porter Wagoner or Bob Wills territory...yes. Very cool! Mississippi Fred McDowell's Death Come In My Room has a real eerie country/blues feel with mando-guitar by Rick and the simplest of drums with fiddle by Jurecka. Classic track doe with a nice twist. Very cool! Champagne Don't Drive Me Crazy, a rework of Taj Mahal's Ain't Nobody's Business is real nice with clean Piedmont picking and fiddle work. Rick really knows how to work these tracks and with his arrangements, vocals and rhythm, really presents this material as fresh. I Know I've Been Changed is a hot track. I think it was penned by LaShun Pace but this track really sounds like the work of Gary Davis. This is probably my favorite track on the release with a terrific arrangement, super backing vocals, cool guitar riffs and wailing clarinet by Jono Lightstone. Excellent! Ernest Tubbs' Drivin' Nails In My Coffin is up next and retains a bunch of it's classic country swing honesty. Rick and the Hawkins Singers do an excellent job on this track and Rick's guitar work is clean and tight. Don't Put My Bourbon Down is a super country swing track with a great hook and clever lyrics with a real nice bass solo by Uncle Junior. Very cool! Wrapping the release is Sister Rosetta Thorpe's, Beams of Heaven, with an almost Elvis arrangement. Warm, 50's style rock ballad with an almost Hawaiian twist seems a perfect closer to this really surprising delight of a release. You really owe it to yourself to check this out!

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Blue Bella Records artist: Hank Mowery - Excuses Plenty - New release review

I just received the newest release, Excuses Plenty, from Hank Mowery and it's a cool mix of rural country, R&B/soul and blues. Opening with Anna Lee, a country rocker featuring Mowery on harp ad vocal, Troy Amaro on guitar, Chris Corey on piano, Patrick Recob on bass and Theo Ndawillie II on drums. I Don't Want to Know is a nice R&B ballad with strong radio appeal. Jimmie Stagger and Claude Nine add some real nice guitar work to this track but in a melodic contained envelope. Title track, Excuses Plenty, has a country 2 step feel but a euphoric harp wail that really gives the track a special feel. Troy Amaro adds some nice guitar work on this track as well. Country rocker, Walk With Me has a strong pop influence. Mowery's vocals are really super and Mike Morgan adds some hot guitar riffs to Mowery's own lead harp line. Straight up Chicago blues number, One And Only, has a real nice vocal duet with Recob and Morgan is really fluid on guitar backed by Pete Curry on drums and Larry Taylor on bass. Little Bit Of Rhythm has a light touch and a lot of swing with Corey and Amaro playing a really nice instrumental duet. Early 60's style rocker, Cry For Me, has a surf feel but without the tremolo shimmer. Clavoline work by Corey add a , backing vocals by Matt Mason and vocals give it a country twist. Bluesy ballad, Would You Still Love Me On A Rainy Day, features serious vocals by Mowery and some ultra tasty harp work by harp maestro, Dennis Gruenling. This is some serious dramatic harp work and joined by Doug Deming on guitar this is my pick of the release. Hot blues stomper, Telephone Is Ringing, also features Deming and Gruenling with Danny Banks on drums, Andrew Gohman on bass. This is a hot track really stoking the fire before the close. Mowery's vocals on this track are super and the track really hits! Wrapping the release is Skip James' I'm So Glad, an acoustic number with Piedmont style picking by Amaro. Excellent conclusion to a versatile release.


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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Big O Records artist: Greg Nagy - Stranded - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Stranded, from Greg Nagy of Root Doctor fame, and it's fine and soulful. Opening with title track, Stranded, Nagy shows his ability to not only craft a really super soul tune, but to sing on with the best of them. Joined by Scott Veenstra on drums, Jim Alfredson on keys and Joseph Veloz on bass, Nagy shows the warmth of his own voice and articulate Robert Cray like guitar riffs backed by Marcia Allen and Jen Sygit on backing vocals. Excellent! Simple R&B track Walk Out That Door, has a poppier feel with rich organ lead from Alfredson. Bobby Blue Bland's Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City has a soulful strut emphasized by Veenstra's rhythm. I really like Nagy's vocal work on this track in particular, joined again by Allen and Sygit. Soulful wails on his guitar sets this track off as one fine blues song. I Won't Give Up is a simple soulful ballad backed by Heather Jones and Donny Jones vocally. A very nice composition, Alfredson on keys carries the most of the instrumentation with only basic percussion. Run Away With You is a nicely constructed track with a catchy melody. Nagy's vocals blended with Allen and Sygit make for a natural radio track with clean piano and organ instrumentation. Blues rocker, Long Way To Memphis has the feel of Voodoo Chile with a funky lumbering beat. Very interesting. Jim Shanebeuger on bass and Karl Schantz on drums along with Alfredson on electric keys delivers this track into Nagy's hands to be crafter vocally and stylistically on guitar. Very nice! Still Doing Fine has a cool easy funky beat enhanced by Nagy's loose guitar riffs. Alfredson adds some really nice electric piano work on this track giving it a light jazzy feel. Kicked out funk on Been Such A Long Time driven by Veloz and Veenstra hits a nice groove and Nagy steps up with hot guitar riffs. The jagged rhythm further enhanced by the keys and percussion work of Alfredson make a super raft of rhythm to deliver Nagy's vocals. Sometimes is a smooth funky driving jazz rock track with a R&B kick. Sound good? It is. Zach Zunis keeps it simple but hits just the right notes like painting with an eyelash on guitar backing Nagy's vocals rounded out with Billy Preston like riffs from Alfredson. Wrapping the release is Kevin McKendree's Welcome Home, a simple ballad. Nagy lays in smooth guitar riffs and Alfredson on keys warms the track with organ and backing vocals. This is a warm soul style release with solid writing and performance.

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Monday, March 3, 2014

St. Louis blues: But not that St. Louis - Kate Voss - Guest Writer




At first glance, it might not seem all that odd that Minard Shattuck is building a growing blues following and carving out a niche for his favorite genre in an historic theater in downtown St. Louis.

But Shattuck’s St. Louis isn’t that St. Louis.

He’s in the middle of farm country, in St. Louis, Michigan, smack-dab in the center of the mitten.

Melding his love of blues music with his entrepreneurial spirit drove Shattuck’s ambitious effort to transform a vacant movie theater into a popular nightspot back in 2007. Inspired by the greats, like B.B. King and Buddy Guy (the latter of whom just performed an excellent set for DirecTV’s Guitar Center Sessions; more details are on his homepage) Shattuck is perhaps not wildly unique, but he’s an inspiration to similar spirits across the country who love blues music but live far-removed from the hotbeds like Chicago and Detroit and that other St. Louis that have traditionally driven the genre.

The fact that Shattuck has made a decent living and successful go at it, though, is pretty impressive.

St. Louis, Mich., is as milquetoast as a town can get – a tiny enclave of just over 7,000 people where the local livestock auction attracts crowds far bigger than those for live music of any kind.

Perhaps best known as the place that made and distributed PBB that was accidently mixed with cattle feed – as depicted in the 1981 Ron Howard film Bitter Harvest – St. Louis, Mich., is still struggling with contaminated water, an EPA Superfund site and a forever-polluted river.

Not the kind of place that lends itself to a rocking blues scene, and, for that matter, not the kind of town with a thriving downtown climate at all, let alone nightlife.


But Shattuck’s venue – known as Center Stage at the Gem – hosted its first summer blues festival in 2007 and now in the midst of its first-ever Winter Blues Series, which features weekend performances by noted regional acts from January through April.

Shattuck’s Winter Blues Series kicked off Jan. 4 with Kev Nichols and Blue Tuesday, the Jackson, Michigan-based blues band that recently made it to the semifinals of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee.

The 2007 series continued with eight more acts, ending with an April 5 appearance by Louisiana-based bluesman Larry Garner and an April 19 show featuring the Chicago-based Biscuit Miller and the Mix.

A pretty solid blues mix for a tiny town in the middle of Michigan’s farm country.

"It doesn't seem possible that was five years ago," Shattuck told the local newspaper, the Morning Sun, back in 2012. "Larry McCray played and put on a great show. He's been back a number of times since then and we've been pleased to host many other fine blues artists over the years. Five years is a pretty short history, but it's been very rich in talent.”

This summer’s annual St. Louis Blues Festival, slated for July 5-6, features Willie Dixon, the Chicago bluesman, composer and bassist.

Beginning as a one-day event in the midst of the city’s annual Fourth of July celebration, the St. Louis Festival is now a highly-anticipated two-day festival taking up an entire downtown city block.

For more information about the St. Louis Winter Blues Series or this summer 2014 St. Louis Blues Festival, visit: http://www.saintlouisbluesfestival.com.


Kate Voss is a blogger in an entertainment blogger in Chicago with directstartv.com. Her favorite blues musicians include John Lee Hooker and Buddy Guy.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

John Enghauser - Reality - New release review

I just received the new release, Reality, from John Enghauser and it's a literal hit package. Opening with Black Dress, an amazing pop track with a rocking rhythm and a serious hook, I'll be shocked if it doesn't get picked up by a TV show as a theme song. Keep Your Jacket On is a loping track with sweet harmonies and nice slide work under the vocals. Very nice. Reality is a heads up pop track with a twist of Philly sounding a bit like early Todd Rundgren...not a bad thing. Kyle Newmaska adds Trumpet, Scott Hughes trombone and Jerry Moore sax making this track a bit more fleshy. Tears Of Yesterday has a really smart vocal melody backed primarily by acoustic guitar and warm backing vocals. This is another really nice track making me think that this could be the most popular album I'll hear this year... at least it should be! Shadowatch, with it's full band sound really demonstrates Enghauser's ability as a songwriter and with some flashy guitar work making me think that he should be ranked up with (or better than) John Mayer and Dave Matthews. Tower takes an eastern twist but maintaining a metally rock base. Tandem vocals have unusually pleasing sound but also the addition of strings and spoken lyrics add a taste of Led Zep and contemporary sound. We Hear Your Cry is a simple acoustic/vocal ballad. Building with the addition of drums and full key and instrumentation this is another dimension to this multifaceted artist. The Slightest is another bright pop track demonstrating Enghauser's capability as a hit machine. I really think that this young man is a rocket to the airwaves. Melodies are great and harmonies are spot on. Rubberband has the simplest of lyrics but some of the more complex of rhythms and instrumental arrangements. Very memorable, this track will definitely stick with you. Let's Get Out Of Our Own Way is a really sweet little pop track. This has all of the appeal of Rundgren's pop tracks with simple changes and familiar sounding melodies. Nicely articulated instrumental interlude on this track adds a dash of cinnamon to this track. A second take on Power is a nice close to this brilliant pop release. Dominated by horns and drums, Enghauser repeats the chorus and adds some singing guitar riffs. This sounds like the closing theme of an entire project like a movie or a cohesive package of very smart music. Excellent job!

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Ready Or Not - Jawbone

Jawbone is a one-man blues/garage/punk band based in Detroit, Michigan. His self-released, basement-recorded 2004 album 'dang blues' was discovered by legendary BBC Radio 1 dj John Peel, who championed the cd on his national UK broadcast over a period of several weeks early in 2004. A visit to London soon followed in April 2004 for a series of club gigs and a live session for Mr. Peel at Maida Vale studios. Jawbone was signed to London-based Loose Music in July 2004. A Jawbone cover version of Johnny Cash's Sun Records classic 'Get Rhythm' was included in the October 2004 Mojo Magazine Johnny Cash tribute cd. The end of 2004 saw Jawbone return to the UK for another small tour, and 2 songs from 'dang blues' ending up in the top 20 of the annual Peel Festive 50 listener’s poll. 2005 included an appearance at SXSW Music Conference in Austin, Texas, gigs in and around Detroit, and another UK tour, which included a set in a special Peel Tribute concert at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. Jawbone's second full-length album titled Hauling was released in Spring of 2006 on Loose, and resulted in further touring throughout Ireland and the UK, and festival dates in Belgium and Italy in the summer of 2007.  

If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Lazy Brothers Records artist: Howard Glazer - Stepchild of The Blues - New release Review

I just received the newest release (September 17, 2013), Stepchild Of The Blues, by Howard Glazer and he lives up to his guitar man reputation. Opening with Don't Love You No More, a blues based rocker, Glazer punctuates his vocal phrases with searing riffs. On Shakin', a R&B style track along the lines of Willie and the Hand Jive. With a lot of Bo Diddly rhythm, Glazer opens a door for open range soloing and he lays it down over a fairly open rhythm pattern. Nice! Gas Pump Blues is a basic acoustic with metal bodied resonator, vocal and featuring Harmonica Shah on harp. Cool change up. Telephone Blues digs down and gets BB King style tension and bend vibratos of Johnny Winter. Larry Marek adds some really nice organ work on this track but its the bend vibrato that is king here. Honey and Spice has the rhythm pattern of Wilson Picket but with a healthy dose of blues rock guitar. Somewhere really has the feel of an early Bob Dylan or Lou Reed track but with a bit ore rock ballad intention. Solitary guitar riffs over a stripped down rhythm section of Chris Brown on bass and Charles David Stuart on drums does the trick. Cried All My Tears has a Rollin and Tumblin feel with Glazer whipping out some hot flash on slide guitar. Hurtful Feeling is a greasy slider along the lines of It Hurts Me too. With Harmonica Shah on harp, the boys dig down deep for the hottest track on the release.

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Dear Miles - Ron Carter Quartet

Ron Carter (born May 4, 1937) is an American jazz double-bassist. His appearances on over 2,500 albums make him one of the most-recorded bassists in jazz history. Carter is also an acclaimed cellist who has recorded numerous times on that instrument. He was elected to the DownBeat Jazz Hall of Fame in 2012. Carter was born in Ferndale, Michigan. He started to play cello at the age of 10, but when his family moved to Detroit, he ran into difficulties regarding the racial stereotyping of classical musicians and instead moved to bass. He attended the historic Cass Technical High School in Detroit, and, later, the Eastman School of Music, where he played in its Philharmonic Orchestra. He gained his bachelor's degree at Eastman in 1959, and in 1961 a master's degree in double bass performance from the Manhattan School of Music. His first jobs as a jazz musician were with Jaki Byard and Chico Hamilton. His first records were made with Eric Dolphy (another former member of Hamilton's group) and Don Ellis, in 1960. His own first date as leader, Where?, with Dolphy and Mal Waldron and a date also with Dolphy called Out There with George Duvivier and Roy Haynes and Carter on cello; its advanced harmonies and concepts were in step with the third stream movement. Carter came to fame via the second great Miles Davis quintet in the early 1960s, which also included Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Tony Williams. Carter joined Davis's group in 1963, appearing on the album Seven Steps to Heaven and the follow-up E.S.P., the latter being the first album to feature only the full quintet. It also featured three of Carter's compositions (the only time he contributed compositions to Davis's group). He stayed with Davis until 1968 (when he was replaced by Dave Holland), and participated in a couple of studio sessions with Davis in 1969 and 1970. Although he played electric bass occasionally during this period, he has subsequently eschewed that instrument entirely, and now plays only acoustic bass. Carter was close to Davis and even revealed to an interviewer in 1966 that the famous trumpeter's favorite color was fuchsia. Carter also performed on some of Hancock, Williams and Shorter's recordings during the sixties for Blue Note Records. He was a sideman on many Blue Note recordings of the era, playing with Sam Rivers, Freddie Hubbard, Duke Pearson, Lee Morgan, McCoy Tyner, Andrew Hill, Horace Silver and others. After leaving Davis, Carter was for several years a mainstay of CTI Records, making albums under his own name and also appearing on many of the label's records with a diverse range of other musicians. Notable musical partnerships in the '70s and '80s included Joe Henderson, Houston Person, Hank Jones, and Cedar Walton. During the 1970s he was a member of the New York Jazz Quartet. He appears on the alternative hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest's influential album The Low End Theory on a track called "Verses from the Abstract". He also appears as a member of the jazz combo the Classical Jazz Quartet. Carter performing at the European Jazz Expò 2007 In 1994, Carter appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation album, Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool. The album, meant to raise awareness and funds in support of the AIDS epidemic in relation to the African American community, was heralded as "Album of the Year" by TIME. In 2001, Carter collaborated with Black Star and John Patton to record "Money Jungle" for the Red Hot Organization's compilation album, Red Hot + Indigo, a tribute to Duke Ellington. Carter was Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the Music Department of The City College of New York, having taught there for twenty years, and received an honorary Doctorate from the Berklee College of Music, in Spring 2005. He joined the faculty of the Juilliard School in New York City in 2008, teaching bass in the school's Jazz Studies program. Carter made a notable appearance in Robert Altman's 1996 film, Kansas City. The end credits feature him and fellow bassist Christian McBride duetting on "Solitude". Ron Carter sits on the Advisory Committee of the Board of Directors of The Jazz Foundation of America as well as the Honorary Founder's Committee. Carter has worked with the Jazz Foundation since its inception to save the homes and the lives of America's elderly jazz and blues musicians including musicians that survived Hurricane Katrina. Carter appeared as himself in an episode of the HBO series Treme entitled "What Is New Orleans."

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

MY SEDUCTION - Bob Schultz

Big Foot Bob is one of the most respected Rhythm and Blues singers and musicians throughout Michigan. His career began in the Sixties as the organist in the Bob Seger System. When you hear "Ramblin Gamblin Man", or "Heavy Music", that is Big Foot Bob you hear on the organ. Those organ licks are considered to be one of the most recognizable and original in all of Rock and Roll history. Since those early days, Big Foot has performed with most of Michigan's most prolific performers ranging from Wayne Kramer's MC5, to Motown's greatest. His reputation today amongst Michigan's club and festival musicians is as good as it gets. Ask any great blues or club musician throughout the state, "Who would you consider as one of the greatest singers you've ever gigged with?", and the answer might very well be, "Big Foot Bob Schultz"

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Groove Merchant - Thad Jones & Mel Lewis

Thaddeus Joseph Jones (March 28, 1923 – August 21, 1986) was an American jazz trumpeter, composer, and bandleader. Thad Jones was born in Pontiac, Michigan, to a musical family of ten (an older brother was pianist Hank Jones and a younger brother was drummer Elvin Jones). Thad Jones was a self-taught musician, performing professionally by the age of sixteen. He served in U.S. Army bands during World War II (1943–46). After Army service including an association with the U.S. Military School of Music and working with area bands in Des Moines and Oklahoma City, Thad became a member of the Count Basie Orchestra in May 1954. He was featured as a soloist on such well-known tunes as "April in Paris", "Shiny Stockings" and "Corner Pocket". However, his main contribution was his nearly two dozen arrangements and compositions for the Basie Orchestra, including "The Deacon", "H.R.H." (Her Royal Highness, in honor of the band’s command performance in London), "Counter Block", and lesser known gems such as "Speaking of Sounds". His hymn-like ballad "To You" was performed by the Basie band combined with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in their only recording together, and the recording Dance Along With Basie contains nearly an entire album of Jones’ uncredited arrangements of standard tunes. Jones left the Basie Orchestra in 1963 to become a freelance arranger and studio player in New York. In 1965, he and drummer Mel Lewis formed The Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra. The group initially began with informal late-night jam sessions among New York's top studio musicians. The group eventually began performing at the Village Vanguard in February 1966, to wide acclaim, and continued with Jones in the lead for twelve years. They won a 1978 Grammy Award for their album Live in Munich. Jones also taught at William Paterson College in New Jersey, which is now the site of the Thad Jones Archive, containing pencil scores and vintage photos as part of the Living Jazz Archives. Jones' big-band arranging style was unique, especially from the standpoint of featuring dissonant voicings in a tonal context. This required the members of his big band to play correctly in tune, otherwise the dense chords he wrote would not sound correct. Minor 2nds and major 7ths are often featured in his voicings, especially when the entire band plays a long, powerful chord that some would describe as having "bite". One of the more notable albums he made in this regard is Suite for Pops recorded on the A&M Records Horizon label (now out of print) in the early 1970s. It also featured the intense bebop improvisations of saxophonist Billy Harper and the high note screech playing of lead trumpet player Jon Faddis. In 1978, Thad suddenly moved to Copenhagen, Denmark (to the great surprise of his New York band mates), where several other American jazz musicians had gone to live. Upon Thad’s 1978 departure to live in Europe, the band continued as the Mel Lewis Orchestra until Lewis’s death in February 1990, after which they performed as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, still including several Thad Jones alumni, continuing the Monday night Village Vanguard tradition into its fifth decade. Jones resided in Copenhagen from 1978–1984. He formed a new big band Eclipse which he recorded a live album with, Eclipse. Several Americans were on the album, pianist Horace Parlan, baritonist Sahib Shihab, trumpeter Tim Hagans and trombonist/vocalist Richard Boone along with trombonists Bjarne Thanning & Ture Larsen, trumpeter Lars Togeby, altoists Ole Thøger & Michael Hove, tenor saxophonist Bent Jædig and Jesper Lundgaard on bass. He further composed for The Danish Radio Big Band and taught jazz at the Royal Danish Conservatory in Copenhagen. He studied composition formally during this period, as well as taking up the valve trombone. In February 1985, he returned to the U.S. to take the leadership of the Basie Orchestra upon his former leader’s death, fronting the Basie band in numerous tours, and writing arrangements for recordings and performances with vocalist Caterina Valente and Manhattan Transfer, but had to step down due to ill health. He returned to his home in Copenhagen for the last few months of his life. He died on August 21, 1986, after being hospitalized for months, but his cause of death was not published. In later years his playing ability was overshadowed by his composing and arranging skills. His best known composition is the standard "A Child is Born". At the time of his death he had a six-year-old child, also named Thad Jones, with his wife Lis Jones, a daughter Thedia and a son Bruce. He is buried in Copenhagen's Vestre Kirkegård Cemetery (Western Churchyard Cemetery). Thad Jones has a street named after him in southern Copenhagen, "Thad Jones Vej" (eng. Thad Jones Street).  

If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The New Blues - Sonny Red Sextet

Sonny Red (December 17, 1932 in Detroit as Sylvester Kyner Jr. – March 20, 1981) was an American alto saxophonist associated with the hard bop idiom among other styles. He had some success in the 1960s, but had fallen into obscurity by the late 1970s



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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pretty Good Love - Thornetta Davis Band

For over fifteen years this multi-talented native Detroiter has graced and dominated Michigan's most attended events. She has performed over two hundred shows a year with grace and stamina. Her voice is strong, commanding, melodic and smooth. She tells her stories with incredible delivery and leaves her audiences wanting more. She first gained attention in 1987 when she became back up singer for the Detroit soul band "Lamont Zodiac and The Love Signs". Shortly after, the lead singer left the band and the name changed to "The Chisel Brothers featuring Thornetta Davis". In 1996 Thornetta recorded her first solo album "Sunday Morning Music" on the Seattle based label "Sub Pop" which received a rave revue in the national Entertainment Weekly magazine. The song "Cry" from that album was featured on the HBO hit cable drama "The Sopranos". Thornetta has opened for legendary blues and R&B greats such as Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Etta James, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Junior Wells, Lonnie Brooks, Johnnie Johnson and many more…her history is extensive and her performances are memorable…like the time she opened for Bonnie Raitt at Michigan's Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz festival in 1992. Bonnie asked Thornetta to join her and Katie Webster (queen of the swamp boogie) for an encore song which received a standing ovation. In 1999 Thornetta brought down the house with her astounding performance at the"Lillith Fair" at Michigan's Pine Knob Music Theatre hosted by SarahMclachlan…that same evening she attended the "Detroit Music Awards" where she proudly accepted 2 of the over 20 Music Awards that she has won over the last 15 years for "Best R&B/ Blues vocalist" and "Best R&B Group". In 2000 Thornetta opened the VH1 Vogue fashion awards at Madison Square Garden with Detroit phenomenon Kid Rock. New York's star-studded event captured Detroit's "Princess of the Blues" in all her glory! In 2001 Thornetta Davis is inducted into the Detroit Music Hall of Fame! Thornetta performed on Wednesday nights for 7 years at one of Detroit's favorite live music venues "The Music Menu" located in Greektown in downtown Detroit until it's closing in 2003. Three years before that final Wednesday, Thornetta recorded a live performance on one magical night at the "Menu" and called it "Thornetta Davis covered Live at the Music Menu". This CD is a collection of Thornetta's most requested cover tunes. The magic comes through and touches you and makes you feel like you're right there watching her as she takes you on a spiritual journey to the depths of her soul. "Thornetta Davis covered Live at the Music Menu" won "Best R&B/ Blues Recording" at the Detroit Music Awards 2002. Thornetta Davis has appeared on the covers of Living Blues Magazine and Big City Blues Magazine. Thornetta has also performed background vocals for artists such as Bob Seger on his album "The Fire Inside", The Little Steven VanZandt produced U.S. debut of Nigerian reggae artist Majek Fashek, on "Spirit of Love", Sub pop recording artist "alternative rock band" Big Chief on the album, "Mack Avenue Scull Game", and Kid Rock on his self titled 2003 CD "KID ROCK". Thornetta also performed on the sound track for the film "Osmosis Jones" starring Bill Murray. Her powerful singing voice has been heard on the hit television show Xena Warrior Princess. Her Cadillac commercial aired for the first time during the 2001 Academy Awards Thornetta was also chosen to represent the DETROIT PISTONS 2001-2002 If you're from Michigan you are sure to have seen Thornetta in the Michigan State Lottery commercials. Coca-Cola selected Thornetta to revive the late 1960's "I'd Like to teach the world to sing" commercial. Pizza Hut loved our blues diva enough to "twist and dip" It's clear that the Motor City knows just who Thornetta is and now it's time the rest of the world found out. So we would like to introduce to you in all her splendor a Detroit talent as original as her name… THORNETTA

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Country Woman - Will Batts

Fiddler Will Batts was the primary instrumentalist in Jack Kelly's South Memphis Jug Band, a popular string band whose music owed a heavy debt to the blues as well as minstrel songs, vaudeville numbers, reels and rags. Born January 24, 1904 in Michigan, Mississippi, Batts was working as a farm hand when he decided to pursue a career in music full-time; he sooned joined Kelly's band, a fixture of the Beale Street area, and in 1933 they made their first recordings, followed in 1939 by a second and final session. Batts also backed a variety of other Memphis performers, including minstrel singer Frank Stokes; a 1952 session with harpist Big Walter Horton was his last known recording date -- he died on April 16, 1954.


Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band (1933-1939, BDCD-6005)

Twenty years have passed since Bengt Olsson's monograph, 'The Memphis Blues", was published. To this day our knowledge of the city's musical development is largely based on his research. As Olsson noted, Memphis boasted a preponderance of jug bands and when record companies finally got around to recording the genre there were at least six formally organised bands working in the city. Four of those, Will Shade's Memphis Jug Band, Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers, Jed Davenport's Beale Street Jug Band and Jack Kelly's South Memphis Jug Band, enjoyed fairly flourishing recording careers. Of those Cannon and Shade's became the most commercially successful, Davenport's managed just one session, while Jack Kelly's aggregation only seemed to find favour with record companies as Shade's popularity began to dwindle.

Little is known of Kelly and the few biographical details available come from the reminiscences of others. It is thought he was born in northern Mississippi at the turn of the century (1905 has been suggested) , moving to Memphis in the twenties where he remained until his death around 1960. He is remembered as a street musician who worked with guitarists Frank Stokes, Dan Sane and fiddle player Will Batts. Later Kelly, Sam and Batts augmented their sound with a jug player, DM Higgs, forming a group called the South Memphis Jug Band. Their repertoire tended to favour blues based material and the combination of two guitars, violin and jug produced a decidedly "country blues" sound, more so than that of a conventional band, the line-ups of which, usually included instruments like banjo, harmonica, kazoo, washboard and washtub bass.

The uninhibited music of the country juke joint and southern township hall is evident in Kelly's first recordings in 1933.  The all pervasive impression being one of musical excellence rather than originality of lyric. Jack Kelly's basic chording and medium tempo picking, perfectly complemented by Dan Sam's buzy bass run flatpicking, the heavy rhythm of the two guitars underscored by Will Batt's plaintive fiddling and sonorous jug blowing of Dr Higgs add new dimension to fairly standard themes like "Highway 61" or "Ko Ko Mo Blues". However, when Jack Kelly and Will Batts returned to the studio six years later they underwent a metamorphous, dropping Sam and Higgs ‑ along with the "South Memphis Jug Band" tag - and in their place an unidentified guitarist (whom Olsson has always insisted was Little Son Joe) providing the foil. This change of personnel had a marked effect on their sound, almost taking their music back to the decade that produced the fine partnership of Frank Stokes and Dan Sane. Also the material took on a more lyrical, profound or topical air as in, for example, "Joe Louis Special" ("Steak and gravy is his favorite dishes"), "Diamond Buyer" ("Somebody, somebody, somebody been trimming my horses mane") or the post depression "Neck Bone Blues" ("times got so hard well it made many men to eat kneckbones").

Throughout the forties and fifties Jack Kelly remained playing in Memphis finally teaming up with harmonica player Walter Horton. In 1952 they recorded two numbers for Sun records, as Jackie Boy and Little Walter, but that was the last contact Walter Horton had with Jack Kelly
and when questioned about him many years later Horton couldn't even put a date to his death.
                                                                                                                    Alan Balfour August 1991





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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Baby I'm Yours - Barbara Lewis

Barbara Lewis (born February 9, 1943) is an American singer and songwriter whose smooth style influenced rhythm and blues. Lewis was born in Salem, near Ann Arbor, Michigan. She was writing and recording by her teens with record producer Ollie McLaughlin (a black DJ at Ann Arbor radio station WHRV, now WAAM, who is also credited with discovering Del Shannon). Lewis' first single release in 1962, the uptempo "My Heart Went Do Dat Da," did not chart nationally, but was a local hit in the Detroit, Michigan area. She wrote all of the songs on her debut LP, including the hit "Hello Stranger" which reached #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, and featured extensive use of the Hammond organ. Lewis had moderate follow-up hits with "Straighten Up Your Heart" (#43) and her original "Puppy Love" (#38) before Bert Berns produced her million-seller "Baby I'm Yours" (U.S. #11), written by Van McCoy. Berns also produced the followup "Make Me Your Baby" (U.S. #11) which had originally been recorded by the Pixies Three, and Lewis' final Top 40 hit "Make Me Belong to You" (#28 in 1966), written by Chip Taylor and Billy Vera. At the end of the decade, she released a grittier-sounding album on Stax Records, and after its lack of commercial success, she began to withdraw from the music industry. However, over the next decade, a number of other artists had success with Lewis' songs. Her own composition "Hello Stranger"- which had been remade in 1966 by the Capitols – was a regional hit in 1973 as remade by Fire & Rain and in 1977 Yvonne Elliman's version reached the US Top 20 and the UK Singles Chart Top 30: Elliman's version also topped the US Easy Listening chart for four weeks. In 1985 Carrie Lucas' remake of "Hello Stranger" was a Top 20 R&B hit and in 2004 Queen Latifah remade "Hello Stranger" for her The Dana Owens Album. "Baby I'm Yours" charted in versions by country singer Jody Miller and Debby Boone (the B-side of her single "God Knows"). In Canada, Suzanne Stevens had a hit in 1975 with a disco version of "Make Me Your Baby." Cover versions of Barbara Lewis' tracks continue into the new millennium with the Arctic Monkeys, including a version of "Baby I'm Yours" as a B-side to their 2006 single, "Leave Before the Lights Come On." In 1995, Lewis' "Baby I'm Yours" was featured on the soundtrack for the film, The Bridges of Madison County. She received the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1999. The backup group on many songs from the album Hello Stranger – including the title cut – are The Dells. If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Open E / Vizz Tone artist: The James Montgomery Band - From Detroit... To The Delta

I just received the newest release, From Detroit... To The Delta by the James Montgomery Band. James has put together a really entertaining set of tracks here beginning with Intoxicated, a high stepping blues track with strong backing from The Uptown Horns. Montgomery, always a cool singer and fire breathin' harp player screams out some hot riffs on this track and George McCann adding cool some guitar flash. Montgomery gives a whole new look at Dixon's Same Thing and it it ends up sounding more like Foghat than old school Chicago. I think that they do a real nice job on this track with McCann on slide and Montgomery on harp. I also like the vocal effects used on this track. Johnny Winter and Brad Whitford add hot guitar riffs on rockin' track Little Johnny but let's face it...this band is cookin' and that is just gravy on an already hot biscuit! Motor City Is Burning opens with David Hull on a bass riff and Montgomery takes over with that singing harp tone that he's known for. Tom West adds some cool key work on this track as well. I Don't Want To Have A Heart is set to the basic riff from the Stones "Hot Stuff". I've got no objection to that at all and it develops to a totally different track... a really nice groove. McCann plays out some really nice jazz like guitar riffs on this track and Montgomery plays organ like sounds from his harp. Delta Storm, a ballad format, has a light key base from Sandy MacDonald and McCann adds nice punctuation with his ax over top of the Uptown Horns. On Bo Diddley's Who Do You Love, the band lays down a a high energy funk riff featuring DMC on vocals. On Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, Montgomery eases into a nice slinky blues track with a strong contemporary Delta flavor. James lays down some really rich harp work on this track over top of McCann's solid guitar playing. On Percy Mayfield's Hit The Road Jack, Montgomery kicks it up a few notches leading the band to a very cool place. Heard this song done numerous times but this is definitely a worthwhile cover. Montgomery with assistance from Charise White does a nice job on vocals and McCann plays a blistering solo on this track. Rivers Edge is really a study on soundscaping and quite effective featuring McCann and Montgomery building a really nice painting with music. Changing Of The Guard is a a rockin' track with a bit of southern flavor and some sweet guitar effects. Lightnin' Hopkin's Black Cadillac rounds out the set and a nice finish it is. Montgomery really digs on on this track and the band is humming. Featuring James Cotton on harp along with Marc Copely on Guitar and Marty Richards on drums this is a great track. This is a really entertaining release and one I hope that you get the opportunity to hear.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Under My Wheels - Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier; February 4, 1948) is an American rock singer, songwriter and musician whose career spans more than five decades. With a stage show that features guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, boa constrictors, and baby dolls, Cooper has drawn equally from horror movies, vaudeville and garage rock to pioneer a grandly theatrical and violent brand of rock designed to shock. Originating in Detroit in the late 1960s, Alice Cooper was originally a band consisting of Furnier on vocals and harmonica, lead guitarist Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce on rhythm guitar, Dennis Dunaway on bass guitar, and drummer Neal Smith. The original Alice Cooper band broke into the international music mainstream with the 1971 hit "I'm Eighteen" from the album Love It to Death, which was followed by the even bigger single "School's Out" in 1972. The band reached their commercial peak with the 1973 album Billion Dollar Babies. Furnier's solo career as Alice Cooper, adopting the band's name as his own name, began with the 1975 concept album Welcome to My Nightmare; in 2011 he released Welcome 2 My Nightmare, his 19th album as a solo artist, and his 26th album in total. Expanding from his Detroit rock roots, in his career Cooper has experimented with a number of musical styles, including conceptual rock, art rock, hard rock, New Wave, pop rock, experimental rock and industrial rock. Alice Cooper is known for his social and witty persona offstage; The Rolling Stone Album Guide has called him the world's most "beloved heavy metal entertainer". Cooper is credited with helping to shape the sound and look of heavy metal, and he is regarded as being the artist who "first introduced horror imagery to rock'n'roll, and whose stagecraft and showmanship have permanently transformed the genre". Away from music, Cooper is a film actor, a golfing celebrity, a restaurateur and, since 2004, a popular radio DJ with his classic rock show Nights with Alice Cooper. In 2011 the original Alice Cooper band was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Cooper was born as Vincent Damon Furnier in Detroit, Michigan, USA, the son of Ella Mae (née McCart) and Ether Moroni Furnier. His father was a lay preacher in the Church of Jesus Christ (also known as the Bickertonite Church) which, historically, is an offshoot of the Latter Day Saint movement. He has French Huguenot, Sioux Native American, English, Scottish, and Irish ancestry, and was named after one of his uncles (Vincent Collier Furnier) and the writer Damon Runyon.[8] His paternal grandfather, Thurman Sylvester Furnier, was an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite). Vincent Furnier was active in his church at the ages of 11 and 12.[9][10] While growing up in Detroit, Furnier attended Washington Elementary School, then Nankin Mills Jr. High, now Lutheran High School Westland. Following a series of childhood illnesses, Furnier moved with his family to Phoenix, Arizona, where he attended Cortez High School in north Phoenix. Vincent had gained admission into the University of Arizona, University of Colorado and University of California-Davis – he declined all these offers In 1964 sixteen year-old Furnier (later rumours suggested he was nineteen) was eager to take part in the local annual letterman's talent show, so he gathered fellow cross-country teammates to form a group for the show. They named themselves The Earwigs. Because they did not know how to play any instruments at the time, they dressed up like The Beatles and mimed their performance to Beatles songs. As a result of winning the talent show and loving the experience of being onstage, the group immediately proceeded to learn how to play instruments they acquired from a local pawn shop. They soon renamed themselves The Spiders, featuring Furnier on vocals, Glen Buxton on lead guitar, John Tatum on rhythm guitar, Dennis Dunaway on bass guitar and John Speer on drums.[citation needed] Musically, the group was inspired by artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, The Doors and The Yardbirds. For the next year the band performed regularly around the Phoenix area with a huge black spider's web as their backdrop, the group's first stage prop. In 1965 they recorded their first single, "Why Don't You Love Me" (originally performed by The Blackwells), with Furnier learning the harmonica for the song. In 1966 The Spiders graduated from high school, and after North High School footballer Michael Bruce replaced John Tatum on rhythm guitar, the band scored a local No. 1 radio hit with "Don't Blow Your Mind," an original composition from their second single release. By 1967 the band had begun to make regular road trips to Los Angeles to play shows. They soon renamed themselves The Nazz and released the single "Wonder Who's Lovin' Her Now", backed with future Alice Cooper track "Lay Down and Die, Goodbye." At around this time drummer John Speer was replaced by Neal Smith. By the end of the year the band had relocated to Los Angeles. In 1968 the band learned that Todd Rundgren also had a band called Nazz, and found themselves in need of another stage name. Furnier also believed that the group needed a gimmick to succeed, and that other bands were not exploiting the showmanship potential of the stage. The name "Alice Cooper" came from a session with a ouija board, largely chosen because it sounded innocuous and wholesome, in humorous contrast to the band's image and music, and eventually adopted this stage name as his own. Cooper later stated that the name change was one of his most important and successful career moves. Nonetheless, at the time Cooper and the band realized that the concept of a male playing the role of a villain, a woman killer, in tattered women's clothing and wearing make-up, would have the potential to cause considerable social controversy and grab headlines. In 2007 in his book Alice Cooper, Golf Monster Cooper stated that his look was inspired in part by film. One of the band's all-time favorite movies was What Ever Happened to Baby Jane starring Bette Davis. "In the movie, Bette wears disgusting caked makeup smeared on her face and underneath her eyes, with deep, dark, black eyeliner." Another movie the band watched over and over was Barbarella. "When I saw Anita Pallenberg playing the Great Tyrant in that movie in 1968, wearing long black leather gloves with switchblades coming out of them, I thought, 'That's what Alice should look like.' That, and a little bit of Emma Peel from The Avengers." The classic Alice Cooper group line-up consisted of Furnier, lead guitarist Glen Buxton, rhythm guitarist Michael Bruce, bassist Dennis Dunaway and drummer Neal Smith. With the exception of Smith, who graduated from Camelback High School (which is referred to in the song "Alma Mater" on the album School's Out), all of the band members were on the Cortez High School cross-country team, and many of Cooper's stage effects were inspired by their cross-country coach, Emmett Smith (one of Smith's class projects was to build a working guillotine for slicing watermelons). Cooper, Buxton and Dunaway were also art students, and their admiration for the works of surrealist artists such as Salvador Dalí would further inspire their future stage antics. One night after an unsuccessful gig at the Cheetah club in Venice, California, where the band emptied the entire room of patrons after playing just ten minutes, they were approached and enlisted by music manager Shep Gordon, who ironically saw the band's negative impact that night as a force that could be turned in a more productive direction. Shep then arranged an audition for the band with composer and renowned record producer, Frank Zappa, who was looking to sign bizarre music acts to his new record label, Straight Records. For the audition Zappa told them to come to his house "at 7 o'clock." The band mistakenly assumed he meant 7 o'clock in the morning. Being woken up by a band willing to play that particular brand of psychedelic rock at seven in the morning impressed Zappa enough to sign them to a three-album deal. Another Zappa-signed act, the all-female GTOs, who liked to "dress the Cooper boys up like full size Barbie dolls," played a major role in developing the band's early onstage look. Cooper's first album Pretties for You (released in 1969) had a slight psychedelic feel. Although it touched the US charts for one week at No. 193, it was ultimately a critical and commercial failure. Alice Cooper's "shock rock" reputation apparently developed almost by accident at first. An unrehearsed stage routine involving Cooper, a feather pillow and a live chicken garnered attention from the press; the band decided to capitalize on the tabloid sensationalism, creating in the process a new subgenre, shock rock. Cooper claims that the infamous "Chicken Incident" at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival concert in September 1969 was an accident. A chicken somehow made its way onto the stage into the feathers of a feather pillow they would open during Cooper's performance, and not having any experience around farm animals, Cooper presumed that, because the chicken had wings, it would be able to fly. He picked it up and threw it out over the crowd, expecting it to fly away. The chicken instead plummeted into the first few rows occupied by disabled people in wheelchairs, who reportedly proceeded to tear the bird to pieces. Alice was announced his love for fried chicken and Jack Daniels in numerous interviews. The next day the incident made the front page of national newspapers, and Zappa phoned Cooper and asked if the story, which reported that he had bitten off the chicken's head and drunk its blood on stage, was true. Cooper denied the rumor, whereupon Zappa told him, "Well, whatever you do, don't tell anyone you didn't do it," obviously recognizing that such publicity would be priceless for the band. The band have later claimed that this period was highly influenced by Pink Floyd, and especially the album Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Glen Buxton said he could listen to Syd Barrett's guitar for hours at a time Despite the publicity from the Chicken Incident, the band's second album, Easy Action, released in June 1970, met with the same fate as its predecessor. At around this time the band, fed up with Californians' indifference to their act, relocated to Cooper's birthplace, Detroit, where their bizarre stage act was much better received by the crowds of the Midwest states who were accustomed to the similar hard rock styles of local bands such as The Stooges and The MC5. Despite this, Cooper still managed to receive a cream pie in the face when performing at the Cincinnati Pop Festival. Detroit would remain their steady home base until 1972. "L.A. just didn’t get it," Cooper stated. "They were all on the wrong drug for us. They were on acid and we were basically drinking beer. We fit much more in Detroit than we did anywhere else." Alice Cooper appeared at the Woodstock-esque, Strawberry Fields Festival near Toronto, Ontario in August 1970. The band's mix of glam and increasingly violent stage theatrics stood out in stark contrast to the bearded, denim-clad hippie bands of the time. As Cooper himself stated: "We were into fun, sex, death and money when everybody was into peace and love. We wanted to see what was next. It turned out we were next, and we drove a stake through the heart of the Love Generation". In autumn 1970 the Alice Cooper group teamed with producer Bob Ezrin for the recording of their third album Love It to Death. This was the final album in their Straight Records contract and the band's last chance to create a hit. That first success came with the single "I'm Eighteen", released in November 1970, which reached number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1971. Not long after the album's release in January 1971 Warner Bros. Records purchased Alice Cooper's contract from Straight and re-issued the album, giving the group a higher level of promotion. Love It to Death proved to be their breakthrough album, reaching number 35 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album charts. It would be the first of eleven Alice Cooper group and solo albums produced by Ezrin, who is widely seen as being instrumental in helping to create and develop the band's definitive sound. The group's 1971 tour featured a stage show involving mock fights and gothic torture modes being imposed on Cooper climaxing with a staged execution by electric chair, with the band sporting tight, sequined, and color-contrasting glam rock-style costumes made by prominent rock fashion designer Cindy Dunaway (sister of band member Neal Smith, and wife of band member Dennis Dunaway). Cooper's androgynous stage role had developed to present a villainous side, portraying a potential threat to modern society. The success of the band's single and album, and their tour of 1971, which included their first tour of Europe (audience members reportedly included Elton John and a pre-Ziggy David Bowie), provided enough encouragement for Warner Bros. to offer the band a new multi-album contract. Their follow-up album Killer, released in late 1971, continued the commercial success of Love It to Death and included further single success with "Under My Wheels", "Be My Lover" in early 1972, and "Halo of Flies" which became a Top 10 hit in the Netherlands in 1972. Thematically, Killer expanded on the villainous side of Cooper's androgynous stage role, with its music becoming the soundtrack to the group's morality-based stage show, which by then featured a boa constrictor hugging Cooper on-stage, the murderous axe chopping of bloodied baby dolls, and execution by hanging at the gallows. Back then, the real criticism was aimed at questioning the artists' sexual ambiguity, rather than the stage gore. In January 1972, Cooper was again asked about his peculiar name, and told talk show hostess Dinah Shore that he took the name from a "Mayberry RFD" character. The summer of 1972 saw the release of the single "School's Out". It went Top 10 in the US, was a No. 1 single in the UK, and remains a staple on classic rock radio to this day. The album School's Out reached No. 2 on the US charts and sold over a million copies. The band now relocated to their new mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut. With Cooper's on-stage androgynous persona completely replaced with brattiness and machismo, the band solidified their success with subsequent tours in the US and Europe, and won over devoted fans in droves while at the same time horrifying parents and outraging the social establishment. In the United Kingdom, Mary Whitehouse, a christian morality campaigner, persuaded the BBC to ban the video for "School's Out" and Member of Parliament Leo Abse petitioned Home Secretary Reginald Maudling to have the group banned altogether from performing in the country. In February 1973 Billion Dollar Babies was released worldwide and became the band's most commercially successful album, reaching No. 1 in both the US and UK. "Elected", a late-1972 Top 10 UK hit from the album, which inspired one of the first MTV-style story-line promo videos ever made for a song (three years before Queen's promotional video for "Bohemian Rhapsody"), was followed by two more UK Top 10 singles, "Hello Hooray" and "No More Mr. Nice Guy", the latter of which was the last UK single from the album; it reached No. 25 in the US. The title track, featuring guest vocals by Donovan, was also a US hit single. Around this time Glen Buxton left Alice Cooper briefly due to his waning health. The group in 1973. With a string of successful concept albums and several hit singles, the band continued their gruelling schedule and toured the US once again. Continued attempts by politicians and pressure groups to ban their shocking act only served to fuel the myth of Alice Cooper further and generate even greater public interest. Their 1973 US tour broke box office records previously set by The Rolling Stones and raised rock theatrics to new heights; the multi-level stage show by then featured numerous special effects, including Billion Dollar Bills, decapitated baby dolls and mannequins, a dental psychosis scene complete with dancing teeth, and the ultimate execution prop and highlight of the show: the guillotine. The guillotine and other stage effects were designed for the band by magician James Randi, who appeared on stage during some of the shows as executioner. The Alice Cooper group had now reached its peak and it was among the most visible and successful acts in the industry. Beneath the surface, however, the repetitive schedule of recording and touring had begun to take its toll on the band, and Cooper, who was under the constant pressure of getting into character for that night's show, was consistently sighted nursing a can of beer. Muscle of Love, released at the end of 1973, was to be the last studio album from the classic line-up, and marked Alice Cooper's last UK Top 20 single of the 1970s with "Teenage Lament '74". An unsolicited theme song was recorded for the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun, but a different song of the same name by Lulu was chosen instead. By 1974, the Muscle of Love album had not matched the top-charting success of its predecessor, and the band began to have constant disagreements. For various reasons the band decided to take a hiatus. During this time Cooper relocated back to Los Angeles and started appearing regularly on TV shows such as Hollywood Squares, and Warner Bros. released the Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits compilation album. It featured classic style artwork and reached the US Top 10, performing better than Muscle of Love. However, the band's 1974 feature film Good to See You Again, Alice Cooper (consisting mainly of 1973 concert footage with 'comedic' sketches woven throughout to a faint storyline), released on a minor theatrical run mostly to drive-in theaters, saw little box office success. On March 5, 1974 Cooper appeared on episode 3 of The Snoop Sisters playing a satanic cult singer. In 1975 Alice released his first solo album, Welcome to My Nightmare. To avoid legal complications over ownership of the group name, Alice Cooper had by then become the singer's new legal name. The success of the solo album marked the final break with the original members of the band with Cooper collaborating with their producer Bob Ezrin, who recruited Lou Reed's backing band, including guitarists Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter, to play on the album. Spearheaded by the US Top 20 hit ballad, "Only Women Bleed", the album was released by Atlantic Records in March of that year and became a Top 10 hit for Cooper. It was a concept album that was based on the nightmare of a child named Steven, featuring narration by classic horror movie film star Vincent Price (who several years after Welcome to My Nightmare guested on Michael Jackson's "Thriller"), and serving as the soundtrack to Cooper's new stage show, which now included more theatrics than ever (including an 8-foot-tall (2.4 m) furry Cyclops which Cooper decapitates and kills). Cooper (second from right) laughs at Mae West's words after the opening of her last movie in 1978. By this time, however, alcohol was clearly affecting Cooper's performances. During the Welcome to My Nightmare tour in Vancouver, and only a few songs into the routine, Cooper tripped over a foot-light, staggered a few paces, lost his bearings, and plunged head-first off the stage and onto the concrete floor of the Pacific Coliseum. Some fans, thinking it was all part of the act, reached through the barriers to pull at his blood-matted hair before bouncers could pull him away for help. He was taken to a local hospital, where medical staff stitched his head wound and provided him with a skullcap. Cooper returned to the venue a couple of hours later and tried to perform two more songs, but within minutes he had to call it a night. Accompanying the album and stage show was the TV special The Nightmare, starring Cooper and Vincent Price, which aired on US prime-time TV in April 1975. The Nightmare (which was later released on home video in 1983 and gained a Grammy Awards nomination for Best Long Form Music Video) was regarded as another groundbreaking moment in rock history. Adding to all that, a concert film, also called Welcome to My Nightmare produced, directed and choreographed by the West Side Story cast member David Winters and filmed live at London's Wembley Arena in September 1975, was released to theaters in 1976.[30][31] Though it failed at the box office, it later became a midnight movie favorite and a cult classic. Such was the immense success of Cooper's solo project that he decided to continue alone as a solo artist, and the original band became officially defunct. Bruce, Dunnaway and Smith would go on to form the short-lived band Billion Dollar Babies, producing one album - Battle Axe - in 1977. While occasionally performing with one another and Glen Buxton, they would not reunite with Alice until October 23, 1999, at the second Glen Buxton Memorial Weekend for a show at CoopersTown in Phoenix. Since that time they have also performed together (televised) on March 14, 2011, at the induction of the original Alice Coopoer group into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as on May 11, 2011 at London's Battersea Power Station at the Jagermiester Ice Cold 4D event (webcast). The trio also appeared on several tracks on Alice's 2011 album Welcome 2 My Nightmare. It was also during this time that Cooper co-founded the legendary drinking club The Hollywood Vampires. Cooper in 1978. Following the 1976 US No. 12 ballad hit "I Never Cry"; two albums, Alice Cooper Goes to Hell and Lace and Whiskey; and the 1977 US No. 9 ballad hit "You and Me", it became clear from many performances during his 1977 US tour that Cooper was in dire need of help with his alcoholism (at his alcoholic peak it was rumored that Cooper was consuming up to two cases of Budweiser and a bottle of whiskey a day). Following the tour, Cooper had himself hospitalized in a New York sanitarium for treatment, during which time the live album The Alice Cooper Show was released. In 1978 a sobered Cooper used his experience in the sanitarium as the inspiration for the semi-autobiographical album From the Inside, which he co-wrote with Bernie Taupin. The release spawned another US Top 20 hit "How You Gonna See Me Now", yet another ballad. The subsequent tour's stage show was based inside an asylum, and was filmed for Cooper's first home video release, The Strange Case of Alice Cooper, in 1979. Around this time, Cooper performed "Welcome to My Nightmare", "You and Me" and "School's Out" on The Muppet Show (episode # 307) on March 28, 1978 (he played one of the devil's henchmen trying to dupe Kermit the Frog and Gonzo into selling their souls). He also appeared in an against-typecasting role as a piano-playing disco bellboy in Mae West's final film, Sextette, and as a villain in the film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Cooper also led celebrities in raising money to remodel the famous Hollywood Sign in California. Cooper himself contributed over $27,000 to the project, buying an O in the sign in memory of friend and comedian Groucho Marx. 1980s Cooper's albums from the beginning of the 1980s, Flush the Fashion, Special Forces, Zipper Catches Skin and DaDa, were not as commercially successful as his past releases. Flush the Fashion, produced by Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker, had a thick, edgy New Wave musical sound that baffled even long-time fans, though it still yielded the US Top 40 hit "(We're All) Clones". The album Special Forces featured a more aggressive but consistent form of New Wave style, and included a new version of "Generation Landslide". The following album, Zipper Catches Skin was a more power pop-oriented recording, with lots of quirky high-energy guitar-driven songs. While those three albums engaged the experimental New Wave sound with energetic results, 1983 marked the return collaboration of producer Bob Ezrin and guitarist Dick Wagner with the haunting epic DaDa, the final album in his Warner Bros. contract. In 1983 after the recording of DaDa, Cooper was re-hospitalized for alcoholism. In a deathly state of health he moved back to Phoenix to save his marriage from collapse, and so that he could receive the support of family and friends. Cooper was finally clean and sober by the time DaDa and The Nightmare home video (of his 1975 TV Special) were released in the fall of that year; however, both releases performed below expectations. Even with The Nightmare scoring a nomination for 1984's Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video (he lost to Duran Duran), it was not enough for Warner Bros. to keep Cooper on their books, so in 1984 Cooper became a "free agent" for the first time in his career. After over a year on hiatus, during which time he spent being a full-time father, perfecting his golf swing every day on the golf course, and finding time to star in the Spanish B-grade horror movie production Monster Dog, Cooper sought to pick up the pieces of his musical career. In 1985 he met and began writing songs with guitarist Kane Roberts. Cooper was subsequently signed to MCA Records, and appeared as guest vocalist on Twisted Sister's song "Be Chrool To Your Scuel". A video was made for the song, featuring Cooper donning his black snake-eyes make-up for the first time since 1979. But any publicity it may have generated toward Cooper's return to the music scene was cut short as the video was promptly banned because of its graphically gory make-up (by Tom Savini), and because of the innumerable zombies in the video and their insatiable appetite for gorging on human flesh. In 1986 Alice Cooper officially returned to the music industry with the album Constrictor. The album spawned the hits "He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask)" (the theme song for the movie Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives; in the video of the song Cooper was given a cameo role as a deranged psychiatrist) and the fan favorite "Teenage Frankenstein". The Constrictor album was a catalyst for Cooper to make (for the first time since the 1982 Special Forces tour) a triumphant return to the road, on a tour appropriately entitled The Nightmare Returns. The Detroit leg of this tour, which took place at the end of October 1986during Halloween, was captured on film as The Nightmare Returns, and is viewed by some as being the definitive Alice Cooper concert film. The concert, which received rave reviews in the rock music press, was also described by Rolling Stone magazine as bringing "Cooper's violent, twisted onstage fantasies to a new generation". The Constrictor album was followed by Raise Your Fist and Yell in 1987, which had an even rougher sound than its predecessor, as well as the Cooper classic "Freedom". The subsequent tour of Raise Your Fist and Yell, which was heavily inspired by the slasher horror movies of the time such as the Friday the 13th series and Nightmare on Elm Street, served up a shocking spectacle similar to its predecessor, and courted the kind of controversy, especially in Europe, that recalled the public outrage caused by Cooper's public performances in America in the early 1970s. In Britain Labour M.P. David Blunkett called for the show to be banned, saying "I'm horrified by his behaviour – it goes beyond the bounds of entertainment" (even though Blunkett has been blind from birth). The controversy spilled over into the German segment of the tour, with the German government actually succeeding in having some of the gorier segments of the performance removed. It was also during the London leg of the tour that Cooper met with a near fatal accident during the hanging execution sequence at the end of the show. Constrictor and Raise Your Fist and Yell were recorded with lead guitarist Kane Roberts and bassist Kip Winger, both of whom would leave the band by the end of 1988 (although Kane Roberts played guitar on "Bed of Nails" on 1989's album Trash). In 1987 Cooper made a brief appearance as a vagrant in the horror movie Prince of Darkness, directed by John Carpenter. His role had no lines and consisted of generally menacing the protagonists before eventually impaling one of them with a bicycle frame. Cooper also appeared at WrestleMania III, escorting wrestler Jake 'The Snake' Roberts to the ring. After the match was over, Cooper got involved and threw Jake's snake Damien at The Honky Tonk Man's manager Jimmy Hart. Jake considered the involvement of Cooper to be an honor, as he had idolized Cooper in his youth and was still a huge fan. Cooper recorded a new song, I Got A Line On You, for the soundtrack to Iron Eagle II. A music video was shot for the song and got minor airplay on MTV. The song was originally recorded and released in 1969 by the band Spirit. "I Got A Line On You" was released as a B-side for the Poison single and on The Life And Crimes Of Alice Cooper CD. In 1988, Cooper's contract with MCA Records expired and he signed with Epic Records. Then in 1989 his career finally experienced a legitimate revival with the Desmond Child produced and Grammy-nominated album Trash, which spawned a hit single "Poison", which reached No. 2 in the UK and No. 7 in the US, and a worldwide arena tour. 1990s 1991 saw the release of Cooper's 19th studio album, Hey Stoopid, again featuring several of rock music’s glitterati guesting on the record. Released as glam metal's popularity was on the wane, and just before the explosion of grunge, it failed to have the same commercial impact as its predecessor. The same year also saw the release of the video Alice Cooper: Prime Cuts which chronicled his entire career using in depth interviews with Cooper himself, Bob Ezrin, and Shep Gordon. One critic has noted that Prime Cuts demonstrates how Cooper had used (in contrast to similar artists who succeeded him) themes of satire and moralisation to such good effect throughout his career. It was in the Prime Cuts video that Bob Ezrin delivered his own summation of the Alice Cooper persona: "He is the psycho killer in all of us. He's the axe murderer, he's the spoiled child, he's the abuser, he's the abused; he's the perpetrator, he's the victim, he's the gun slinger, and he's the guy lying dead in the middle of the street". By the early 1990s Cooper had become a genuine cultural icon, guesting on records by the most successful bands of the time, such as the Guns N' Roses album Use Your Illusion I, on which he shared vocal duties with Axl Rose on the track "The Garden"; making a brief appearance as the abusive stepfather of Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare On Elm Street film Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991). Cooper made a famous cameo appearance in the 1992 hit comedy film Wayne's World. Cooper and his band first appear onstage performing "Feed My Frankenstein" from Hey Stoopid. Afterwards at a backstage party, the movie's main characters Wayne and Garth discover that when offstage Cooper is a calm, articulate intellectual when he and his band discuss the history of Milwaukee in surprising depth. In a now famous scene, Wayne and Garth respond to an invitation to hang out with Cooper by kneeling and bowing reverently before him while chanting "We're not worthy! We're not worthy!" In 1994 Cooper released The Last Temptation, his first concept album since DaDa. The album deals with issues of faith, temptation, alienation and the frustrations of modern life, and has been described as "a young man's struggle to see the truth through the distractions of the 'Sideshow' of the modern world". Concurrent with the release of The Last Temptation was a three-part comic book series written by Neil Gaiman, fleshing out the album's story. This was to be Cooper’s last album with Epic Records, and his last studio release for six years, though during this period the live album A Fistful of Alice was released, and in 1997 he lent his voice to the first track of Insane Clown Posse's The Great Milenko. In 1999, the four-disc box set The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper appeared, which contained an authorized biography of Cooper, Alcohol and Razor Blades, Poison and Needles: The Glorious Wretched Excess of Alice Cooper, All-American, written by Creem magazine editor Jeffrey Morgan. During his absence from the recording studio, Cooper toured extensively every year throughout the latter part of the 1990s, including, in 1996, South America, which he had not visited since 1974. Also in 1996, Cooper sang the role of Herod on the London cast recording of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. He also made an appearance on an episode of That 70s Show, at the end of which he and two other (minor) guest characters parody Dungeons & Dragons. 2000s Cooper in 2004 on a film set in L.A. The first decade of the 21st century saw a sustained period of activity from Alice Cooper. In the decade that he turned sixty, he toured extensively and released (after a significant break) a steady stream of studio albums to favorable critical acclaim. During this period Cooper was also recognized and awarded in various ways: he received a Rock Immortal award at the 2007 Scream Awards; was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003; he received (in May 2004) an honorary doctoral degree from Grand Canyon University; was given (in May 2006) the key to the city of Alice, North Dakota; he won the living legend award at the 2006 Classic Rock Roll of Honour event; and he won the 2007 Mojo music magazine Hero Award. The lengthy break between studio albums ended in 2000 with Brutal Planet, which was a return to horror-lined heavy metal, with industrial rock, and with subject matter thematically inspired by the brutality of the modern world, set in a dystopian post-apocalyptic future, and also inspired by a number of news stories that had recently appeared on the CNN news channel. The album was produced by Bob Marlett, with longtime Cooper production collaborator Bob Ezrin returning as executive producer. The accompanying world tour, which included Cooper's first concert in Russia, was a resounding success, introducing Alice Cooper to a new audience and producing the live home video, Brutally Live, in 2001. During one memorable episode in Brutally Live, Britney Spears (being played by Alice Cooper's real life daughter, Calico), and representing "everything that my audience hates – the softening of rock and roll...the sweetness of it" is executed by Cooper. Brutal Planet was succeeded by the sonically similar and widely acclaimed sequel Dragontown, which saw Bob Ezrin back at the helm as producer. The album has been described as leading the listener down "a nightmarish path into the mind of rock's original conceptual storyteller" and by Cooper himself as being "the worst town on Brutal Planet". Like The Last Temptation, both Brutal Planet and Dragontown are albums which explore Cooper's personal faith perspective (born again Christianity). It is often cited in the music media that Dragontown forms the third chapter in a trilogy begun with The Last Temptation; however, Cooper has indicated that this in fact is not the case. Cooper again adopted a leaner, cleaner sound for his critically acclaimed 2003 release The Eyes of Alice Cooper. Recognizing that many contemporary bands were having great success with his former sounds and styles, Cooper worked with a somewhat younger group of road and studio musicians who were very familiar with his oeuvre of old. However, instead of rehashing the old sounds, they updated them, often with surprisingly effective results. The resulting Bare Bones tour adopted a less-orchestrated performance style that had fewer theatrical flourishes and a greater emphasis on musicality. The success of this tour helped support the growing recognition that the classic Cooper songs were exceptionally clever, tuneful and unique. Cooper's radio show, Nights with Alice Cooper, began airing on January 26, 2004 in several US cities. The program showcases classic rock, Cooper's personal stories about his life as a rock icon and interviews with prominent rock artists. The show is broadcast on nearly 100 stations in the US and Canada, and has also been broadcast all over the world. A continuation of the songwriting approach adopted on The Eyes of Alice Cooper was again adopted by Cooper for his 24th studio album, Dirty Diamonds, released in 2005. Dirty Diamonds became Cooper's highest charting album since 1994's The Last Temptation. The Dirty Diamonds tour launched in America in August 2005 after several European concerts, including a performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland on July 12. Cooper and his band, including Kiss drummer Eric Singer, were filmed for a DVD released as Alice Cooper: Live at Montreux 2005. One critic, in a review of the Montreux release, commented that Cooper was to be applauded for "still mining pretty much the same territory of teenage angst and rebellion" as he had done more than thirty years previously. In December 2006 the original Alice Cooper band reunited to perform six classic Alice Cooper songs at Cooper's annual charity event in Phoenix, entitled "Christmas Pudding". On July 1, 2007 Cooper performed a duet with Marilyn Manson at the B'Estival event in Bucharest, Romania.[58] The performance represented a reconciliation between the two artists; Cooper had previously taken issue with Manson over his overtly anti-Christian on-stage antics and had sarcastically made reference to the originality of Manson's choosing a female name and dressing in women's clothing.[49] Cooper and Manson have been the subject of an academic paper on the significance of adolescent antiheroes. In January 2008 he was one of the guest singers on the new Avantasia album The Scarecrow, singing the 7th track, "The Toy Master". In July 2008, after lengthy delays, Cooper released Along Came a Spider, his 25th studio album. It was Cooper's highest charting album since 1991's Hey Stoopid, reaching No. 53 in the US and No. 31 in the UK. The album, visiting similar territory explored in 1987's Raise Your Fist and Yell, deals with the nefarious antics of a deranged serial killer named "Spider" who is on a quest to use the limbs of his victims to create a human spider. The album generally received positive reviews from music critics, though Rolling Stone magazine opined that the music on the record sorely missed Bob Ezrin's production values. The resulting Theatre of Death tour of the album (during which Cooper is executed on four separate occasions) was described in a long November 2009 article about Cooper in The Times as "epic" and featuring "enough fake blood to remake Saving Private Ryan". 2010s In January 2010, it was announced that Alice would be touring with Rob Zombie on the "Gruesome Twosome" tour. In May 2010, Cooper made an appearance during the beginning of the season finale of the reality-show American Idol, in which he sang "School's Out". Alice Cooper performing live at Wembley Arena in 2012 With his daughter and former band member Dick Wagner, Cooper scored the music for the indie horror flick Silas Gore. During 2010, Cooper began working on a new album, dubbed Welcome 2 My Nightmare, a sequel to the original Welcome to My Nightmare.[64] In a Radio Metal interview, he said that "We'll put some of the original people on it and add some new people [...] I'm very happy with working with Bob (Ezrin) again." On December 15, 2010, it was announced Cooper and his former band would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The official Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place March 14, 2011 where Cooper was inducted by fellow horror-rocker Rob Zombie. Original members Bruce, Cooper, Dunaway, and Smith all made brief acceptance speeches and performed "I'm Eighteen" and "School's Out" live together, with Steve Hunter filling in for the late Glen Buxton. Alice showed up for the event wearing a (presumably fake) blood-splattered shirt and had a live giant albino boa snake wrapped around his neck. Cooper told Rolling Stone magazine that he was "elated" by the news and that the nomination had been made for the original band, as "We all did go to the same high school together, and we were all on the track team, and it was pretty cool that guys that knew each other before the band ended up going that far". On March 10, 2011, Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Alice Cooper, Jennifer Warnes and others performed at a benefit concert in Tucson, Arizona benefiting The Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding, a foundation that raises awareness about and provides medical prevention and treatment services to people with mental disorders. In June 2011 Cooper took his place in the Reasonably Priced Car at the BBC auto show Top Gear. Cooper supported Iron Maiden on their Maiden England World Tour from June to July 21, 2012, and then headlined Bloodstock Open Air on Sunday August 12. On September 16, 2012, Cooper appeared at the Sunflower Jam charity concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London, performing alongside guitarist Brian May of Queen, bassist John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, drummer Ian Paice of Deep Purple, and Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson. Cooper also starred as himself in the 2012 Tim Burton adaptation of Dark Shadows that also starred Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter as well as the series original actors Jonathan Frid, Kathryn Leigh Scott, and Lara Parker in cameo roles. If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”